William Faulkner 2 Essay, Research Paper
?As I Lay Dying? by William Faulkner consists of strange happenings throughout the story. One of the most awkward settings in the book is the relationship between husband and wife that occurred between Anse and Addie Bundren. What we see in the beginning is a wife on her deathbed and a caring husband who wants to make everything better for his wife by making her wishes come true. We soon realize this was just a masking technique Faulkner used to give us the wrong impression on how things were run.
The novel opens with Addie Bundren who we find out is dying. She tells her husband she wants to be buried in Jefferson, and as normal loyal husband would do; Anse felt it was his duty to fulfill his wife?s request. In reality, Anse is a poor farmer with five children to take care of and a wife who is in charge of the house. We tend to feel sorry for him because of his laziness and his urge to talk about two measly topics, a farmer?s life and complete nonsense. His character seems weak, yet he makes the major decisions around the house. Addie worked as a schoolteacher before getting married to Anse. She hated her pupils. During her teaching career she would sit and contemplate the hate she felt for little children. She simply did not like them and she had wished they would just disappear.
“When school was out and the last one had left with his dirty snuffling nose, instead of going home, I would go down a hill to the spring where I could be quiet and hate them”.
The whole marriage with Anse was not a serious situation. It was an odd courtship that happened to occur. Anse saw her, asked her to marry him, she accepted and they were wed. That just proves why their relationship ended up being the way it was. Anse did not spend time to get to know her, nor did he even mention the thought of children to her. Their connection seems distant and probably was from the time they met. They knew nothing about each other at all. If he had known she did not want children, he would not have married her and if she knew how lazy and useless he was she would not have married him. Their relationship seems to be one of relationship with a master and his slave and a baby-making machine. Addie knew that from the beginning it was not something she wanted, but she went through with it. Once she had her first child Cash, she realized how much she despises her life.
?And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible and that this was the answer to it.?
Addie spent her days working and pouring her sweat and blood into the wellbeing of the family and the housework while Anse lazed around doing completely nothing. Even as a farmer he was not successful. His laziness forbid him from getting up and doing something if not for his family then at least for him. The most significance Anse had in his wife?s life was producing children. That was the only time they bonded as people. Maybe not only because Anse wanted children but because Addie knew how he could not survive by himself with all this hardship that she thought it was her duty to give him these children so that they could take care of him if she had left or died. Anse spends his life with Addie for the wrong reasons. He only he marries her because it just so happened he came across a good looking woman one day. A human is not a machine; we do not work as a way of life. For people to survive they need to see results, they need to see that there is someone there encouraging, caring and loving them for them to be able to go on. When no one cares about someone it is as if they walking down a long road with the same patterns and reaching no where. This is how Addie felt. She worked and worked and worked and got no love or appreciation from her husband, who is supposed to be the one helping her out, her companion for life. They are not a genuine couple; they can survive any situation without each other, which just comes to show that Addie was better off alone. If anything, Anse added burden to her busy and hectic life as it is with making her take care of the house and the children. Addie still went on with her life doing the same things but she decided the children were her duty being fulfilled to Anse. Anse was now dead to her just like the words, ?Anse or love?.
In result of this she ended up having an affair with the local minister, Whitfield. She recalls the time when she and him would go and meet secretly in the woods and it would make all the difference. All the pain and hatred she felt at home were forgotten when she was with him. The thought of confusion crossed her mind sometimes when she was alone as well as times when she was with Anse, she would say ?Why Anse? Why is he Anse??.She wanted someone like Whitfield. Why did Anse have to be the person she ended up with? It was a true sin. She does not hide it from herself. She admits to it being a sin, but a sin of happiness to her, something she could be fulfilled with just as her husband was being fulfilled with what she gave him for life. She did not tell Anse about the affair or about Jewel because she refused to, not because she did not want to. She found what she was looking for and what was worth living for and that certainly was not Anse. It was not a beginning for her and nor an end when she was seeing Whitfield, it was just something she felt she owed to herself.
?I would think of him as thinking of me dressed in sin, he the more beautiful since the garment which he had exchanged for sin was sanctified.?
Her rendezvous with Whitfield resulted in giving birth to Jewel. She told no one because she felt it was no one?s business to know. Although Anse meant nothing to her just like him saying he loved her meant nothing, she felt guilty for what had happened. She did not regret her committed sins, but she feels guilty about Anse being oblivious to everything that had happened. Because of this she gave him what he wanted, what made him happy, another two children. Dewey Dell and Vardaman were Addie?s gift to Anse for compensation.
The marital relationship between Addie and Anse Bundren can be best described as a synthetic one. Both characters want different things in life and they both obviously end up with the wrong way of life. Anse being the farmer who wants children cannot interact with a woman like Addie who enjoys loneliness and despises children. Their connection would lead and indeed did lead to a slow degrading of the mind and an utmost collapsing of character.